Warriors outlast Tigers in title showdown

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

ETHAN BRINKMAN of Howards Grove drives to the basket as the Ozaukee defense converges in Thursday’s CLC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ETHAN BRINKMAN of Howards Grove drives to the basket as the Ozaukee defense converges in Thursday’s CLC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley FREDONIA – The Howards Grove Tigers and the Ozaukee Warriors engaged in another memorable battle Thursday night with the Central Lakeshore Conference boys basketball championship at stake.

For the second time this season, it took overtime to decide the outcome. The Warriors avenged a 59- 54 loss to HGHS with a thrilling 59- 53 win which earned them a share of the CLC title with the Tigers at 14-2. The CLC championship is the second in school history for Ozaukee, with the other one in 1999.

“We’re so evenly matched, it’s unbelievable. I see it as a championship for us and a championship for them. These are two great teams,” said Warrior head coach Isaiah Ketterhagen.

“Both teams wanted to win the conference championship alone but we’re happy to share it with Howards Grove. It’s well-deserved for the program and the guys who have worked through this,” said Ketterhagen.

The game was the regular-season finale for both teams. The Tigers slipped to 17-5 overall and Ozaukee improved to 18-4.

“I was a dogfight and a fun game. Ozaukee is definitely deserving of being co-champions,” said Tiger head coach Eric Worth.

“I was proud of the way our kids fought. Obviously, we would’ve liked to win. Some things down the stretch could’ve gone either way.

“I was happy the way we competed. Overall, it was a great team effort,” said Worth.

“I’m really happy for our guys [winning the CLC crown]. They definitely deserve it.”

The Tigers’ previous CLC championship was in 1992.

In their first meeting on Jan. 16, the Tigers roared back from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter to force overtime. In the rematch the Warriors returned the favor as they rallied back from a 12-point deficit in the first quarter and erased an 11-point HGHS lead in the second half.

Jacob Wolf’s two bonus-opportunity free throws gave Ozaukee the lead for good in the overtime period, 54-52, with 1:17 left. On the Tigers’ next possession Ethan Brinkman missed on a drive to the basket and Ozaukee grabbed the rebound with 1:00 remaining.

Owen Miller was fouled with 38 seconds left and he sank both free throws on a one-and-one which gave the Warriors a 56-52 advantage.

The Tigers were unable to score on their ensuing possession as Brinkman missed on another drive to the hoop in heavy traffic. Ozaukee’s Mike Richter got the rebound and was fouled with 23.6 seconds remaining. Richter made 1 of 2 foul shots in the double-bonus to make it 57-52.

Alex Strege was then fouled on a drive to the basket and hit one free throw to bring the Tigers to within 57-53 with 12.9 seconds left but Ozaukee still held a two-possession lead and held on for the victory.

After the Warriors went up 2-0 they didn’t lead again until Richter scored a runner off his steal with 2:15 remaining in regulation which made it 50-48.

The Tigers answered with a layup from Trent Beninghaus off an assist by Andrew Reinemann which tied the game, 50-50, with 1:20 left.

The scored stayed deadlocked the rest of the regulation but both teams had chances to score. Ozaukee’s Jacob Wolff missed a layup after Beninghaus had scored.

After the teams traded turnovers, HGHS regained possession with 6.7 seconds. Ozaukee fouled with 2.6 seconds left but HGHS wasn’t in the bonus yet. After a Tiger timeout, Brinkman missed a long three-point shot as time expired.

“Ethan got a good look and I thought it was down,” said Worth.

Both teams started the game cold from the field before HGHS went on a 10-0 run to go up 10-2 late in the first quarter. Brinkman sparked the spurt with the first seven points, including a three-ball, and Reinemann capped it off with a trey. The Tigers played strong man-to-man defense in the opening period and led 10-4 going into the second.

The Tigers’ lead ballooned to 17-5 with 5:00 remaining in the second quarter after Reinemann buried a three-pointer, followed by Alex Strege’s two free throws and Derek Grimm’s layup. Reinemann’s steal led to Strege’s free throws as Strege was fouled on a fast break.

Ozaukee got on track, offensively, and used a 15-5 tear to cut the Tigers’ advantage to 22-20 at the 1:10 mark in the second period. Miller erupted for 13 points, including a trey and a three-point play, to ignite the rally.

The Tigers answered with an 8-2 run to take a 30-22 halftime lead. Brinkman ignited the stretch with six points on a three-ball and a three-point play. Strege canned a baseline jumper at the buzzer which climaxed the tear.

Brinkman, a senior guard, exploded for 16 points in the first half to spark the Tigers’ offense. He was held to only five the rest of the way – finishing with a team-high 21 points. The Warriors’ man-to-man defense tightened up on Brinkman after the first half and clogged up his driving lanes and gave him few open looks.

Garrett Hoffmann’s three-pointer pulled Ozaukee to within 30-27 with 6:20 left in the third period. HGHS responded with a 10-2 run to build a 40-29 midway through the quarter. Derrick Grimm and Strege drilled back-to-back treys to key the spurt.

The Warriors came back with a 10-2 stretch which sliced Howards’ lead to 42-39 after three quarters. Miller scored five points, including a driving layup at the end of the period, and Wolff drained a threepointer to lead the charge.

Miller, a senior guard scored a game-high 27 points, including several field goals on tough shots.

Beninghaus paced HGHS in rebounds with nine. Reinemann led in assists with three.

“I give them a lot of credit for coming back. They have a tremendous player in Owen. We defended him very well. Owen made some huge shots,” said Worth.

“We got a little bit stagnant on offense [in the fourth quarter and overtime] but I have to give Ozaukee credit. They put pressure on us,” said the Tiger coach.


Score by Quarters
How.Grove…......102012 83–53
Ozaukee................4 18 17 11 9 – 59

Howards Grove scoring: Derrick Grimm 8, Dakota Rabe 2, Alex Strege 8, Andrew Reinemann 6, Ethan Brinkman 21, Jonah Gerber 2, Trent Beninghaus 6. Three-point goals: Grimm 2, Strege 1, Reinemann 2, Brinkman 2.

Ozaukee scoring: Garrett Hoffmann 6, Elijah Mabry 4, Owen Miller 27, Mitch McConnell 1, Jacob Wolff 5, Mike Richter 15, Hunter Radtke 1. Three-point goals: Hoffmann 1, Miller 1, Wolff 1.

Field goals: Howards Grove 19- 34, 56%; Ozaukee 20-47, 43%. Free throws: Howards Grove 8-13, 62%; Ozaukee 16-27, 59%.

Rebounds: Howards Grove 22, Ozaukee 27. Turnovers: Howards Grove 18, Ozauk e 10.

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